Rachel’s Challenge

Photo taken by Jessica Burton

Photo taken by Jessica Burton

Stacey Warren, Reporter

On April 20, 1999, twelve students and one teacher at Columbine High School were shot and killed in a massacre. Rachel Scott was the first victim of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s guns, two misunderstood young men whose journals lead us to believe they were bullied. Little did they know what impact they had that day. In the year 2000, Rachel’s family launched an organization called Rachel’s Challenge.

Rachel’s Challenge is a dream to create a better world for everyone. To create a better world, you must first better yourself. This means fighting to stop bullying, reaching out to others in need, and overall helping your community one person at a time. Larry Scott, Rachel Scott’s uncle, says if you have a dream, you must put it in writing, otherwise it is just a wish.”

“Start a chain reaction of kindness that will ripple around the world.”

                Rachel left an outline of a handprint behind her dresser stating, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.” That is exactly what she has done.

“She did not say I hope they will, or maybe they will. They WILL touch the hearts of millions of people.” Those are the words of admiration spoken by Mr. Scott about his beloved niece.

“Glory only comes when we pursue our dreams. How many of us have enough trust, strength, and faith to chase what we believe in.”

                Mr. Scott encourages students to keep a diary or journal to keep track of their dreams. He reminds them we would have never heard of Anne Frank or Rachel Scott if it weren’t for their journals.

“People will never know how far a little kindness will go. You may just start a chain reaction.”

                Rachel believed in positive influences on her life, Martin Luther King Jr. being one of the biggest. She took a line from one of his quotes about starting a chain reaction. – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that… The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken.”

Rachel believed whole heartedly that it was important to make the right choices. Choose positive influences every day. Everybody is being influenced every day by the music we listen to, people we are with, and TV shows we watch. We think the way we think today because of past experiences. Our influences will make a difference. The choices you make today affect who you will be tomorrow. Always try to reach out to others; you never know if you could be turning somebody’s entire life around.

Rachel’s Challenge has greatly impacted thousands of schools across the nation as well as other countries. The Friends of Rachel Club has transformed their communities by performing “non-random” acts of kindness. The FOR Club strives to continue Rachel’s Challenge, even after the sponsors leave. They demonstrate kindness and compassion acts in their school in various ways.

“The main goal of these clubs is to help create a permanent cultural change in your school.” (rachelschallenge.org) The Friends of Rachel Club also influences a change in their community as well. Larry Scott elaborates that the biggest community change he has seen has been in Rockwell, Texas through “acts with a purpose,” rather than random acts of kindness.” One of which included the chain link project. The Chain Link project is slips of paper describing different acts of kindness that add up to form a chain, or even a paper wall of hundreds of acts of kindness.

At an assembly that was called for people who may be interested in the FOR club, eight courageous students stood up in front of roughly 120 other students and shared their stories of being bullied. Most of them stated they were bullied at other schools, and when they came to Woodland Park they made friends and became happier. This says a lot about the likeability and integrity of our school. We have our flaws, but Woodland Park is a relatively safe place for people that have been bullied in the past.

When asked why sharing their story was important for other students to hear, Mr. Scott gave a swift answer, “other students can relate to it.”

Junior Jammer Brooks agreed, saying, “I was scared to stand up there and speak my mind, but was urged to tell a story I thought was important. Something inspiring and meaningful. I had courage knowing that the people in that room weren’t going to judge me based on what I was about to say.”

“Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance.”

-Rachel Joy Scott